Saturday, January 1, 2011

Everything's Perfect in the Greenhouse!

Hello Daylily Friends,

I am so ready for April that I'm not sure that I can endure the next four months. Everything in my Greenhouse is perfect. I can sit in my Greenhouse for hours and hours, and never leave. I like to look at the beautiful plants, and I can see the changes coming even while I sit and watch. I would report that my beautiful wife Diana Rae grows plants that hang from hooks on her front porch. Before I had my Greenhouse I used to have to buy new hanging plants for her every spring. Now that I have the Greenhouse, I just grow the hanging plants there, and then just put them on her porch in April. She keeps them watered, and they just perform so well all summer long. One plant that I particularly like is her Red Geranium. I took her one Red Geranium, and split it into three hanging plants. I'm showing one of the Red Geraniums; it is beginning to blossom its beautiful red flowers. Another hanging plant that Diana grows on her front porch is Coleus. She also grows it in her yard. I thought that I would show a picture of the Coleus also growing in the Greenhouse.

Diana grows several other hanging plants as well. She has come to really like "English Ivy" quite a lot. This started several years ago when we visited Jack Carpenter at his garden that he calls "The Lily Farm" in Center, Texas. Jack grows many different types of Ivey, and Jack took the time to show the different types of Ivey that he grows to Diana, and to our good friend Camilla Arthur. Because of this experience Diana now grows a "Variegated Ivy" that is an annual. I'm showing a picture of what it looks like hanging in the Greenhouse. Another plant that Diana grows is what she calls her "Spider Plant." It is a beautiful, variegated, green and white colored plant. I has what I could call "projections" where new plants are formed. Just a lovely plant for the summer porch.

One other hanging basket that I grow just for myself in the Greenhouse is a "Pitcher Plant." It really doesn't like temperatures below 50 degrees, but for now I am keeping the Greenhouse temperature at a minimum of 40 degrees. Pitcher Plants also like about 50% shade, and although there is very little shade in the Greenhouse now, there is plenty of shade during the summer when I apply the "shade cloth" over the top of the Greenhouse. I keep the Pitcher Plant because flies, gnats, and other flying insects are attracted to its "pitchers." Then, they are induced into the pitchers from which they never return. So, the Pitcher Plant is actually a Carnivorous plant. Something nice to have in the Greenhouse to help control the flying critters.

Well, you might ask, why do you say that "everything's perfect in the Greenhouse"? The reason certainly isn't Diana's hanging baskets, or even your Pitcher Plant. How can everything be perfect? I hope that I can perhaps explain by citing my use of two different chemical products.

One change that I have made in the Greenhouse is to begin using a product called "Bayer Advanced." I asked my friends, Ted and Randy Preuss, how they controlled pests in their new Greenhouse, and they recommended a product called Bayer. So, I went to Home Depot, and bought the product. It only costs about $25.00 for four (4) pounds. It protects for twelve (12) months, and is a "systemic" poison. In other words, the granular product is placed around the base of an established daylily, and the chemical is absorbed through the roots. Then, when pests eat the plant, they die. What a simple method of pest control! I would note that in the past I have used a chemical called Marathon. Marathon is used in the same way that Bayer is used. So, I looked at the labels on both plants, and very importantly, I see that the same chemical is used in both plants. The chemical is "Imidacloprid." The only difference is that Bayer costs about $25.00 at the Home Depot for four (4) pounds, but the Marathon costs about $100.00 for five (5) pounds. Obviously, the Bayer product is the much better choice. I would also report that Marathon lasts only about twelve (12) weeks, whereas the Bayer product lasts about twelve (12) months. I will never again pay the high price for Marathon as long as the Bayer product is available.

Another change that I made in the Greenhouse is to begin using a product called "Abamectin." I bought the product from my friend Larry Grace, and Larry pointed out today that Abamectin has the same chemical as Avid. The name of the chemical is the same as the name of the product: "Abamectin." The difference is that one container of Abamectin costs about $25.00, whereas the Avid costs about $160.00. Now this is a big time difference in cost. Be assured that I will never again use Avid as long as the Abamectin is available for $25.00.

I say that these are two chemical changes that I have made, and I am glad to report that I have no fungus gnats, I don't have any spider mites, and I can't see any evidence whatsoever of thrips. I don't even see any rust anywhere at all. In fact, my Greenhouse is so clean, that there is no evidence of any flying insects, even inside the pitchers of my Pitcher Plants. All that I can say is that I have kept the Greenhouse very clean. I have dipped any new plants that have entered the Greenhouse, and I have avoided buying any plants from Florida. Now, I don't mean to bump the Florida plants, its just that they often are the source for infestation in the Greenhouse.

Well, I've shown pictures of the hanging baskets in the Greenhouse, but you should also see some of my daylilies. I'm showing a picture of Seedling 1-385 as it is right now in the Greenhouse. Seedling 1-385 is a cross between the following plants: (Mort Morss x Lydia's Regal Robe). The color of 1-385 is amazing. There is a stunning purple color, then there is a gorgeous burgundy eye, and a deep green throat. Then, there is a gorgeous white edge where teeth have formed. What makes the plant so amazing is that the buds do not open until early in the morning. This means that the buds are not open at their tips the evening before the bud actually blooms. Thus, if there is an evening rain, the water does not penetrate the bud. This is a very, very important characteristic. I am so pleased with 1-385. I am quite confident that it will produce seedlings of very high quality. In fact, I have crossed 1-385 with my Seedling 1-337, and I have five (5) plants growing from this cross. You can see Seedling 1-337 here on this blog under the date of May 10, 2010. When I planted 1-385 this past summer I had only two (2) fans. Each fan was placed into its own one-gallon bucket. Now, one of my fans has increased to four fans, and the other has increased to three fans. I would note that the fans are large. I would also note that the plant is clearly a "semi-evergreen." I can hardly wait until I have 1-385 ready for mature measurement, and ready for introduction.

Well, as I say, everything is, indeed, perfect in the Greenhouse.

Happy New Year!



  1. Bill,

    Seedling 1-385 was my favorite of yours this past years visit. When I visit hybridizer's gardens, I always look for a new look, pattern, shape, or color, and 1-385 has a color that I haven't seen anywhere else. Should be quick to sell out in it's first year of introduction. Love all the info you included as well. It must take you a while to put all this together on your blog. Excellent read always!

  2. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for that wonderful picture of KENNESAW MOUNTAIN HAYRIDE that you mailed to us. Such a beautiful daylily growing in your much colder climate. Diana has your picture on her refrigerator. As for 1-385, I am so pleased with this flower. The colors are indeed so striking and different. The white teeth are really white. The purple seems to be covered with a sheen of red, and the burgundy eye is likewise so different. I have seven (7) fans, and I hope to have many more this coming fall. I'll get it introduced as soon as I possibly can. Glad to have your note! Thanks.